Restoring a flood-damaged home can take a long time. Don't expect your familiar home-repair routines to apply in this situation. When repairing or rebuilding, keep flood-proofing in mind. When choosing materials with which to repair and rebuild your home or preparing designs for new living areas, consider ways to make your home even stronger than before |
Remember that your safety is the most important thing to consider when you are restoring and cleaning up a flooded home.
If you have any doubts about anything at all, get professional help. Here are some tips to keep in mind after you've cleaned and disinfected your home:
Determine whether your home is "substantially damaged." "Substantially damaged" means that the cost to restore your home to its "before damaged" condition would equal or exceed 50 percent of the market value of your home before the damage occurred. If your home is substantially damaged, local building codes may require that you elevate or relocate it. Talk to contractors and real estate professionals to get an idea of whether your home is substantially damaged.
Check with your local building department to get your repair plans reviewed and approved and to see if you need a building permit. You may need to get a permit for electrical work and repairs of structural damage such as broken walls.
Have your home heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) system checked and cleaned by a service professional who is experienced in mold cleanup before you turn it on. If the HVAC system was flooded with water, turning on the mold-contaminated HVAC will spread mold and bacteria throughout the house.
Wait until drying is complete before you repaint or repair anything. Remember that things look dry on the surface long before they are dry on the inside, and this can lead to costly mistakes. If it takes a week for the visible signs of moisture to disappear, allow at least another week for the parts you cannot see to dry. To check whether a wall or floor is dry enough to paint, dry an area about 18 inches square with a blow dryer. (Select an area near the floor, where it will be most damp.) Cover the area with a piece of clear plastic sheeting. Carefully seal all the edges with tape. Check the plastic 24 hours later. If there are beads of condensation on the side of the plastic that faces the wall or the floor, it's still too damp to paint.
Don't try to reconnect utilities. If the gas has been turned off at the main valve serving your home, a professional must restore gas service to your home, relight pilot lights, and do a final check of the system. For electricity, check with your municipal authorities to see how much work you can do on your own and what jobs require an electrician. When in doubt, always call an electrician.
The first stage of cleanup: Assessing the damage and drying out
Restoring your home begins with assessing the damage and securing your home against more damage. Then you can begin drying out and cleaning up your home. Dry out your home
It's important to dry your house out completely and as soon as possible. Standing water will cause further damage and foster the growth of mildew and mold. The second stage of cleanup: What to clean and what to throw away
The walls, floors, closets, shelves, and all of the contents of the flooded part of your home should be thoroughly washed and disinfected. You'll also need to sort through all of your belongings to decide what to save and what to throw away. A good rule of thumb to follow is "When in doubt, throw it out." This is the safest route to take when cleaning out a flood-damaged home, because damage isn't always obvious to the naked eye.
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